The EU, Japan, and South Korea have announced the target of zero carbon emission by 2050, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has been a long-time supporter of energy issues, has proposed relevant recommendations, where he believes that an utilization of intermittent energy such as solar and wind power is not enough, and nuclear energy is also a concrete solution.
Gates pointed out that the target of zero emission by 2050 will be the most difficult task for humanity, since elements that impact the economy, including cement, steel, transportation, and construction, will have to undergo changes, and the target will only come to fruition by focusing on innovative technology and the implementation of the proper policy.
Without the infusion of new technology, the cost of pursuing for “green eco-protection” will be as high as US$5 trillion. During an interview with foreign media, Gates pointed out that both solar and wind power are intermittent energy that are not reliable throughout the year, unless a powerful and affordable battery technology that is capable of storing power seasonally somehow appears miraculously to ensure a stable supply of power even without sunlight or wind for several weeks.
Gates believes that only nuclear fission and fusion can achieve 25% of power unaffected by the climate and ensure stable provision of power. He then commented that countries such as Germany, Japan, France, and the US are in the predicament of deciding whether to operate or decommission the completed nuclear power plants, though in terms of the climate issue, the focus lies on the 4th generation nuclear technology that is established with 1/4 of the price of the existing reactors, which offers cost advantages.
However, nuclear safety has always been the biggest concern for the public, and for that Gates has also pointed out that relevant measures will have to be executed for the public to accept this affordable and safe nuclear energy technology that proves to be the solution in mitigating climate change.
In terms of the issue on workers’ rights that derive from energy transformation, Gates commented that despite the gradual depletion in petroleum, natural gas, and coal owing to the decline in notability, the duration of 30 years is sufficient enough in drafting career cultivation and transformation for the workers, and he also called for emphases in green hydrogen and new infrastructures, while promised to participate in energy transformation throughout the entire process. On the whole, Gates believes that 30 years will be enough to implement changes.
(Cover photo source: Flickr/Billionaires Success CC BY 2.0)